Plant Image
Flower head
Aspen Creek Tr - Sue Smith

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Asclepias tuberosa - butterfly milkweed

Synonyms: Asclepias decumbens, Asclepias floridana, Asclepias lutea
Other Common Names: butterflyweed
Plant Form: Forb or Subshrub

Family: Asclepiadaceae

line decor
  Home   Plant Communities Plant List Search Forbs and Subshrubs Search Grasses Search Woody Plants Additional Resources About this Website
line decor

Click on Any Image for a Larger View

Flower head
Aspen Creek Tr
Sue Smith
Aspen Creek Tr
Sue Smith
Plant - summer
Aspen Creek Tr
Sue Smith
Plant - summer
Aspen Creek Tr
Sue Smith
Hairy stem
Aspen Creek Tr
Sue Smith
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Perennial
General Desc: Erect, deeply woody rooted perennial of leafy stems with large bright yellow-orange flower clusters. A host plant for gray hairstreak and monarch butterfly caterpillars. Lacks milky sap.
Identification notes: Perennial; stems erect; leaves irregularly alternate; leaves narrow, taper to a point at both ends; flowers in flat or rounded terminal and lateral clusters; 5 erect, orange to reddish or yellowish petals, orange to yellow horn-like appendages (hoods).
Height: 1 to 2-1/2 feet


Habitat Description: Prefers well-drained sandy soils. Tolerates drought. Chaparral to riparian woodlands, clearings in pine forests and disturbed areas.
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Montane Conifer Forest, Riparian, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 3000 - 8000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: Orange to reddish or yellow     Shape: Regular in round clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: May - Sep
Description: Large flat, round, 2 to 3 inches wide clusters of 3/8 inch wide flowers. The flower parts are 5 sepals, 5 petals, a crown (corona) arising from the middle of the petals, 5 upright hoods that look like petals and pointed horns.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Light green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Narrow     Leaf Margin: Smooth     Leaf Attachment: Alternate     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: Leaves and stems     Spines: N
Leaf Description: Narrow, 2 to 6 inches long leaves that are irregularly alternate, usually crowded and distinctly short-stemmed.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Green turning brown   
Fruit Type: Pod
Fruit Notes: Erect, narrow green pod, turning brown, 6 inches long, covered with fine hairs. Pods are in small clusters.
Seed Notes: Large flat brown seeds with silky hairs that parachute them away from the plant.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Content Questions/Comments: Email Mary Barnes  
Legal Disclaimer